ICD-10 Delayed….Perfect Time To Get Prepared

Implementation of ICD-10 Delayed One Full Year

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It seems like old news already, but on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, President Obama signed the “doc fix” bill (HR 4302) into law.  In our specific industry, this means that the implementation of the use of the ICD-10 codes has been delayed now until October 1, 2015.

What does this mean for the healthcare industry?  Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing?  We don’t have all of the answers, and probably don’t know all of the right questions to ask, but we do know a few things….

  1. All paper claims including Rebills must be on the new CMS form as of April 1.  There were no changes to this deadline.  If you are looking for more information on this, we have several blog posts about this.  You can go to a summary here: New CMS Form FAQ
  2. Nothing has changed for Meaningful Use Stage 2.  There has been some confusion in recent months about dates related to Stage 2 because of an announcement made by CMS in December 2013.  There was an extension of time rather than a delay.  So everyone needs to continue with Stage 2 preparations as previously planned.
  3. This is an amazing opportunity to better prepare for the implementation of ICD-10.

Initially, we were disappointed and upset when we heard the news that there was a bill that would delay the implementation of ICD-10.  That disappointment came mainly because we have invested a lot of time and energy and effort and resources into preparing for it to happen this year.  We have gone through great effort trying to get our clients prepared for the changes.  And so it felt like all of that effort went out the window.  I’m sure that many of the practices out there that were getting ready for ICD-10 felt the same way.  But that isn’t necessarily true that it all went out the window.

Moving Forward with ICD-10

In the glass is half full world, this is a great opportunity to be better prepared.  I think all of us in the industry agree that even though ICD-10 will cause us to spend extra time and money to implement, it does have a great purpose…and it is sorely needed.  The purpose of using the expanded and updated code set is so that we can capture better data about illnesses, diseases, symptoms, complaints, and causes of injury and diseases.   The better the data we have about these things, then we have an increased chance of developing better treatments and cures.  And the sooner we adopt the new code set, the sooner it will make a positive impact.  Obviously, that is a really good thing.

So, here at AZCOMP Technologies, we are planning to use the extended time that we have to better understand ICD-10 and to become better trained and more informed.  With this we can prepare better training for you, and help you be better prepared for the transition.

We all need to use this time wisely so that the transition is smooth.  ICD-10 is not an ‘if’, it is a ‘when’, and we know that right now the ‘when’ will catch you off guard if you don’t start preparing right now.  Do what is necessary for your practice to be on-board with implementation well in advance of the deadline.  In the past few weeks we have been absolutely flooded with practices calling to purchase a software that would help them implement the new CMS form in time for the April 1 deadline.  The sad thing is that this software has been available for purchase since this past November!  So many waited until the last minute calling in a panic, needing to upgrade so that they could submit their claims correctly using the 02/12 CMS 1500 form.  The lesson learned is that being prepared early will make your practice better, and will allow your patients to have a better experience at your office.

As more information becomes available about ICD-10, we will certainly keep you all updated with the information that is available.  We will be busy in the meantime preparing training and other information that will be helpful in preparing your practice for the ICD-10 transition.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Website

While AZCOMP will do our best to provide you with timely and accurate information, there may be times when you will need to find out directly from the source what is going on.  We advise you to get your information from CMS.gov when it comes to ICD-10 and Meaningful Use.